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Man confronts suspected porch pirates in St. Matthews, holds them at gunpoint

St. Matthews Police said the three porch pirates are teenagers, who didn't start their stealing at the Harris Place porches.

ST MATTHEWS, Ky. — Porch pirates on a stealing spree were caught by a homeowner in St. Matthews.

It all happened Monday just before noon, near Lagrange Road, when a man noticed thieves taking a package from his neighbor's porch.

"Everybody hates a thief, it drives me crazy," Bill Rockwood said. 

Bill Rockwood, the former chief of the Anchorage fire department, was working on a home he owns on Harris Place in St. Matthews when he says he noticed something unusual out the front window. 

"I was downstairs and just happened to walk by the picture window, and saw three gentleman with a box in their hands. They were fiddling and kind of excited and I saw them open the box, take the contents of the box out, and throw the box and the packing down and walk down the street," he said. "Thought that was a little odd, so I went out picked up the box and noticed it was addressed to one of my neighbors."

Rockwood says it then became obvious to him that they were holiday porch pirates and he quickly kicked into action. 

"When they saw me coming, threw the box down, and took off running, that just confirmed what I suspected," he said. "If you were gonna do anything, you had to do it right now."

Rockwood said, he got into his car and followed them, but they noticed and took off running between two houses down the street. He eventually caught up and was able to confront them. 

"At that point I confronted them and asked them why they were stealing packages," Rockwood said. "I informed them I had a gun in my hand and they were to get down on the ground and let's not make this any worse than it has to be and called the police."

Rockwood said he didn't fear for his safety, but would not have taken the same steps had he not been armed. 

"I probably wouldn't have gotten out of my car would've confronted them called the police, and followed them had the police come get them," he said. 

St. Matthews Police said the three porch pirates are teenagers, who didn't start their stealing at the Harris Place porches. Chief Barry Wilkerson said prior to that, they had stolen merchandise from Best Buy in St.Matthews. 

"We didn't know it was related to the shoplifting but obviously at that point we had put everything together," Chief Wilkerson said.

All three of the teenagers were caught by police within a few hours and charged with theft. 

"It always helps when we have the community involved. We're not everywhere. It's great that he took the time to even just recognize the fact that somebody was doing something wrong," Wilkerson said. 

"It just drives you crazy when you see somebody stealing anything from anybody and i guess a Christmas present makes it just a little bit worse," Rockwood said. 

Chief Wilkerson said with the holiday season, more people are ordering packages, allowing for more opportunities for porch pirates. He said it can be dangerous to confront suspicious people, but it's up to the discretion of each individuals. 

"Call us right away. If it's somebody suspicious, let us take the action to see what they're up to," he said. 

Wilkerson also encourages people to take pictures of suspected porch pirates people or their license plates to help aid police. 

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